WASHINGTON — In a setback for state efforts to defund abortion providers, the U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday declined to hear Indiana’s appeal of a court ruling against its ban on Medicaid dollars for organizations that perform abortions.
“The court missed an opportunity to clarify, once and for all, that states may cut the abortion industry off from all sources of taxpayer funding,” said Charmaine Yoest, president and CEO of Americans United for Life, on May 28.
“Big Abortion has no constitutional right to force Americans to support its deadly industry with tax dollars,” she said.
Mike Fichter, Indiana Right to Life president and CEO, said the Supreme Court’s decision not to hear Indiana v. Planned Parenthood is “a defeat for all states that wish to pass laws regarding funds in their own states.”
He said the decision is “incredibly disappointing for taxpayers and states’ rights.”
In its May 28 decision, the Supreme Court did not comment on why it rejected the appeal.
Signed into law by then-Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels, the May 2011 law cut all state funding for groups that provide abortions and barred them from receiving federal Medicaid money, with exceptions for hospitals and ambulatory clinics.
Planned Parenthood, the largest abortion provider in Indiana, challenged the law in court.
Last year, Judge Diane Sykes of the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago said that the law excludes Planned Parenthood from Medicaid “for a reason unrelated to its fitness to provide medical services” and therefore violates “patients’ statutory right to obtain medical care from the qualified provider of their choice.”
The Obama administration had backed Planned Parenthood in the case, arguing that Medicaid gives low-income patients a right to secure health care from any qualified provider, the Chicago Tribune reported.
According to Indiana Right to Life, Planned Parenthood of Indiana performs more than 5,000 abortions each year.
Other states have also run into recent difficulties in attempting to remove taxpayer funding of abortion facilities. An Arizona law similar to Indiana’s has also been blocked by a federal judge. A Texas law barring state funds for organizations that perform or promote abortion brought retaliation from the Obama administration, which cut $30 million in annual federal funding for the state’s women’s health program.
Federal law presently prohibits federal funding for most abortions, but not for organizations that provide abortions.